Players from Prince Rupert break out of their zone towards the Haida Gwaii goaltender. (Nick Laws/The Northern View)

Players from Prince Rupert break out of their zone towards the Haida Gwaii goaltender. (Nick Laws/The Northern View)

20th annual Old Timers Tournament kicks off

Hockey teams from Haida Gwaii and across British Columbia travelled to Prince Rupert to play

The 20th annual old-timers’ hockey tournament is taking place this weekend between Nov. 2, and Nov. 4,

The tournament is being held at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre and teams from across Northern BC have entered.

16 teams in all have entered into the three-day tournament, leaving a packed schedule for the civic centre.

“It’s a good chance for the older guys to get out and play some hockey and have some drinks afterwards,” said Paul Cox, president of the Prince Rupert Old Timers League.

This year’s tournament is in honour of Carlo Paolinelli, a man who passed away at the civic centre at a game over twenty years ago.

The tournament is a way to get teams from across British Columbia to meet up, play some hockey and party.

Seventeen teams have entered this year’s tournament from across the province. The tournament would have liked to have more teams participating but ultimately there wasn’t enough ice.

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“We had to cut some of the southern teams because we only have the one sheet of ice here in Rupert and we wanted to showcase northern teams,” said John Vatcher, tournament organizer.

One northern team in particular is a standout, but not necessarily for their on the ice play.

The team in question is from Haida Gwaii, and they do not have any rinks to practice on.

“Our pre-season was 11:45 a.m. this morning,” said Tim Fennell, a Haida Gwaii forward whose vintage red Jofa helmet brings back thoughts of the 80’s.

The team is a ragtag group who has been coming to Prince Rupert for years for the tournament, and that’s about it.

“We come here for this tournament and maybe one in Kitimat, but that’s about it” Don Hancock another Haida Gwaii player said before their first game.

“Half the guys didn’t have the proper equipment, ” said Hancock as he cracks a smile

“I just bought my skates today,” said Fennell through muffled laughter.

The team lost its first game to one of the hometown Rupert teams 9-2 to kick off the tournament, the result may not have gone the way the team would have liked, but they are proud and ultimately know the main goal of the tournament is to have fun and get the opportunity to go out with your group of guys or girls and play some good old-fashioned hockey, and of course enjoy themselves off the ice, something not lost on Hancock.

“Where we really shine is in the beer garden,” he said.

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